Onychomycosis, better known as toenail fungus, is a common nail disorder that affects at least 48% of Americans by the time they’re 70. If not treated properly, then toenail fungus can disfigure and eventually destroy the toenail. Watch for discoloration, and when the condition gets to be uncomfortable, schedule an appointment with a podiatrist. The following explores causes and treatment options for toenail fungus:
Though the disease can affect any one of your nails, the big toe and little toe are at the greatest risk. Fungus can easily spread to your feet environmentally, and these situations increase the risk:
- Damp Areas: Public restrooms, shower stalls, and swimming pools are all places that you can easily pick up a fungus. Any time your feet aren’t properly dry, you are at risk.
- Tight Shoes: This can cause trauma to the toe or keep the foot from drying out properly.
- Weakened Immune System: Diabetics in particular should be careful of contracting toenail fungus, because a compromised immune system is less able to fight off the disease.
While prevention with shower shoes and keeping feet dry is the best option, there are several treatments available from your podiatrist:
- Removal: The doctor can remove much of the fungus by trimming, filing, or dissolving the toenail.
- Medication: Diabetics or patients with severe pain or discomfort are likely to receive oral medication to eliminate the fungus.
- Nail Polish: Medicated nail polish can be prescribed to clear up the infection.
- Surgery: If the fungus is severe enough, then the doctor will remove the nail, allowing a new, healthy nail to grow in its place.
For more information on the treatment of hammertoes, bunions and fungal infections, contact the Family Foot Center. For over 23 years Dr. Stanley Zawada and the rest of the Family Foot Center staff have provided expert care, diagnosis and treatment of foot disorders for children, adults and seniors in the New York City area. Visit us online or call us at (718) 767-5555 to learn more about our services or to make an appointment.
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